TIRUCHY: Parents, teachers and the students, who are the direct beneficiaries of the freely distributed uniforms, bags and sandals, allege that the articles distributed for free by the Government through the school education department in the previous year were of substandard quality. They urged the government to focus on the quality of the articles provided as part of the scheme, this year.
With the government’s announcement on introducing newly coloured uniforms to the students for the academic year 2018-19, the teachers of government schools also urged the government to ensure that the garments are of good quality, unlike those provided the previous year.
It is to be recalled that the School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan had announced that the government schools would soon have four different-hued uniforms, when in Tiruchy recently. He had also said that it is to be implemented to make the profile of the government school students to be on par with private school students.
As per instructions from Tamil Nadu School Education Department, the students of government and government-aided are eligible to receive ‘welfare kits’ during school reopening. The kit includes sandals, uniforms, school bags, notebooks and textbooks. However, the welfare scheme has failed to make the students smile because of the poor quality of the articles provided.
A headmaster, requesting anonymity said, “Public could easily differentiate between a government school student and a private school student just by looking at their uniforms. The government school students’ uniform look faded within a few days, and the loosely fitted garments makes the student feel uncomfortable.” He added that the sizes of the uniforms and the sandals provided did not suit many students.
The only eligibility to receive freebies is for the students who benefit from the noon-meal programme.
“Three-fourths of the students hail from underprivileged families and cannot afford to buy new clothes. Despite their poverty, they are to spend from their pockets to buy good-quality uniforms for their wards,” the headmaster added.
A student said, “The free sandals given are very heavy. We are not being given the footwear as per our actual foot size. The school bags also tears quickly when carried with a bundle of books.”
Teachers urged the school education department to see that the students are given footwear and uniforms of correct sizes to fit them perfectly.
“Though the government distributes footwear to government school students, it is a common sight in the villages that many children walk to schools barefooted. The reason is that either the footwear provided is not of a suitable size or it might have torn within a few weeks,” said the teachers.
V Gopinathan, state vice president of Tamilnadu High and Higher Secondary School Post Graduate Teachers Association urged the government to consider providing good quality uniforms in the upcoming academic year.